Growing older and wiser | PostIndependent.com

Growing older and wiser

This week I celebrated another birthday, a milestone that provided a chance to be thankful for another year. Birthdays can make me introspective like that.

Especially in my 40s.

In the last year, I’ve welcomed change, found love, said some goodbyes in Colorado, made new friends in Indiana and tried different experiences. Although I felt a little out of my element compared to the other actors with more experience, I auditioned for a play and a corporate TV commercial. I didn’t get the parts, but can’t be too discouraged.

Dreams take time to become reality.

If I could give girls and younger women any advice, that would be one piece. Be patient and let time pass to learn along the way. Today’s society can be demanding, especially in the immediacy of expectations being fulfilled. I blame technology and how fast we receive and process information. Reality stars are overnight sensations. Stardom is reached through viral videos on social media.

That absurd lip-plumping Kylie Jenner Challenge does not count, kids.

When navigated correctly — which means filtering out the bad and finding the good — the Internet can be a source of inspiration. That’s a real challenge. I seek out articles I might actually benefit from reading. I admit I’ve been hooked by click bait headlines, and I’m not immune to falling for stories about teenagers sucking on shot glasses to bloat their lips like the Kardashian clan.

I can’t help but be baffled by this pop culture phenomenon.

If the Internet can provide any positive inspiration, it can be found in content like a recent video I shared on my Facebook page about 102-year-old Alice Barker. The story that has now gone viral shows Alice, a former dancer, watching herself on video for the first time performing in the height of the Jazz Age. Through her reaction in seeing the recently discovered videos, viewers can see the thrill she likely experienced each time she danced. Her talent is timeless, and I couldn’t make it through watching without a few tears.

Sometimes when we’re young, we don’t seek out enough advice. Maybe it’s because we think we know more than we do. It could be that we are plain stubborn — I’m speaking from my own Taurus perspective. As I continue to celebrate birthdays, I’m hoping to seek out wisdom those older than me hold.

My mom is someone I listen to as much as possible.

Recently she said to me, “You can’t un-ring a bell,” in regards to a poor political decision that made headlines here in Indiana. But that simple phrase had me thinking. “You can’t un-ring a bell” can translate to other decisions we make in life. That could be in our interpersonal relationships, career decisions or financial judgment calls. Although there are several instances in my life that make me wish I could back in time and do things differently, I have accepted the realities of those bell ringings today. That’s the best any of us can do — own up to our mistakes.

And try to do better next time.

Making mistakes, and being OK with decisions we’ve made in our younger years, are all a part of getting older. Such advice reminded me of a preview to W Magazine’s May cover story on Charlize Theron I recently read (on the Internet). Charlize may be a few years younger, but she is wise in her 39 years. In the article, she has advice for younger women, and her 20-year-old self, about aging.

“I would say, ‘Calm down,’” she says in the W story. “I was always in a rush. I felt like time was going to run out. Now that I’m older, I know I’m not missing out on anything. Now, I go home, and that feels really good. When I hit 30, I realized I didn’t have to please everybody. I could actually enjoy life, which is not a bad thing at all.”

I couldn’t agree more.

April E. Clark is expecting a year like no other. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.